We are in the midst of the Holiday Season, with its joyful sharing, various festival celebrations of light, and special visits with treasured family and friends. It can also be a stressful time for families who are seeking to maintain a sense of regularity and familiar rhythms for their children, while also wanting to enjoy the change of pace that visiting with loved ones can bring.
Here are a few simple suggestions to add to or affirm your parenting wisdom at holiday time:
1. Just knowing and acknowledging that daily life may be different for a little while can be very helpful.
2. The most important rhythm, especially for our children under 7, would be the bedtime rhythm. While it may be later than usual, do include as much of the normal routines as possible; if traveling, do pack any familiar dolls/teddy bears, and books to support familiarity.
3. If your child still naps, do support a nap rhythm as much as possible.
4. While striving for regularity, do be flexible, and enjoy the change of pace that awaits you.
5. Notice, and attend to, stresses that may arise for yourself. Allow yourself a break, stepping outside, a ‘time out’ as needed. Just adding a few extra conscious breaths to your day can make all the difference.
6. Verbally preparing your child that things will be different can also go a long way in supporting their experience of the holiday season.
7. Do share, if possible, and if helpful, with family and friends, your routines that will support your child’s enjoyment of the holiday season. Including them in your plans of achieving a sense of regularity, may go a long way in friends and family supporting your efforts.
8. No matter how cold, do include outside time everyday or as much as possible, for you and your family; from walks in the neighborhood, to hikes in a favorite park, the invigorating cold winter air can renew everyone’s spirits; there is no wrong weather, only wrong clothing!
These are just a few ideas that can support a meaningful holiday season for all families.
Class Facilitator, Morning Garden Teacher
This article was originally printed in the December 2010 edition of the Garden Breeze newsletter of the Waldorf School of Atlanta.